Most of my writing efforts for the last months have been focused on finding a paid outlet for my writing. I have sent cold pitches to editors and I have answered calls for submissions.
In response to a call for general essays about life as a breast cancer patient, the editor rejected my pitch because I wasn’t currently in chemotherapy. When I answered a submission call for essays on reconstruction surgery, my essay was rejected because my reconstruction wasn’t successful. I submitted an essay on my response to a #NoBraDay social media campaign in October and the editor wrote back to tell me my individual story wasn’t interesting enough but she would assign it to a staff writer and he would get back to for an interview as a part of the piece. Another time, I answered a request for submissions about overcoming medical setbacks. My story was rejected because, in the end, I still had cancer and that is not an uplifting story.
Most of my pitches on topics unrelated to breast cancer went completely unremarked upon, so maybe I should feel better about getting direct rejections on the others. I don’t know.
I think I’m done. I think I’m done for awhile. My ego can only take so much and I think if I am going to stay sane, I must withdraw from this particular field of play. Giving up on this idea means I have to come up with another way to earn a living.
It is a little odd, being in this predicament. It isn’t one I thought I would face. I didn’t actually think money would be an issue for me now because I didn’t really think I’d still be alive. I didn’t worry about the lasting effects of chemotherapy or the damage to cognitive function and the toll on my working life because I assumed I wouldn’t need to worry about working or earning a living because I wouldn’t be alive.
Happily, my assumptions have been incorrect so far. It looks like I am going to live, at least for longer than I or medical science anticipated. And if I am going to be alive, I need to earn a living.
I don’t know of a happier, more uplifting, more compelling story than that.